Welcome! If you’ve landed on this page, there’s a good chance you’ve read TRUE SURRENDER… and perhaps you’ve wondered how Major Aaron Bricewick was captured by terrorists. Well, here’s how… (and if you haven’t read it, you can find it here – or read it on Radish!)
Major Aaron Bricewick had a bad feeling about this.
He’d taken this short journey in the uncomfortable Humvees a few times now, and the convoy had never stopped.
He glanced at the bag that sat by his feet. The laptop was standard government-issue and didn’t have any sensitive information on it, but it could still be useful to Taliban terrorists who knew what they were doing.
He glanced at his driver. “What do you think, Hawkins?” he said.
“Dunno, Major. Maybe they gotta check for IEDs.” Hawkins thunked his fist on the empty turret above him. “Why’d they have to pull my gunner off my rig?”
Aaron turned in his seat and met the eyes of Scott Ridley, a government contractor he’d been working closely with for the last four months. Scott’s government-issued glasses made his eyes look huge under his Kevlar helmet.
To Scott’s right, private first-class Cheryl Young stared out the window, chewing on her nails. She’d been assigned to Aaron four months ago and had proven herself a capable clerk with decent computer skills.
Aaron faced forward again and picked up the radio mic. “This is Major Bricewick in Hotel-Niner. Could I get a status update—”
The Humvee shook violently, and he ducked instinctively.
“Fuck!” Hawkins shouted. “They hit Hall!”
Did he mean the vehicle behind them? Aaron twisted in his seat, but the squat design of the Humvee made seeing anything behind them difficult.
Gunfire strafed the hood of their Humvee. Hawkins grabbed the radio mic and yelled into it—and all hell broke loose.
The sound of gunfire was deafening. The ground shook and black smoke obliterated the view out the front window.
The insurgents were throwing everything at them.
Hawkins pounded his fist on the steering wheel. “I gotta help Hall!” He grabbed his door handle.
“Hawkins!” Aaron reached for the wild-eyed PFC. He was going to get himself killed.
“Stay in the vehicle!” Hawkins shouted—and then he threw the door open and dove out.
Above the sound of the gunfire, Aaron heard something else: a higher-pitched whine. A small motor of some kind.
The door slammed shut. “Damn it!” Aaron eyed the empty driver’s seat. Could he crawl over the turret platform?
He released his seat belt and was just about to push himself up when the driver’s door opened and a man jumped into the seat.
Aaron barely had time to register the fact that the man didn’t wear the US military uniform before he found himself staring down the barrel of an automatic rifle. He reached for his Beretta M9, but the man fired a short burst past him into the rear of the Humvee.
Cheryl screamed, and Aaron’s body jerked. Had he shot Cheryl or Scott?
The barrel returned to his chest, and the man yelled in Pashto or Dari.
Aaron froze. He couldn’t put the others at risk…
The man lunged forward and yanked the Beretta out of Aaron’s holster. Then he stepped on the gas, causing the vehicle to surge forward.
Cheryl screamed again as the Humvee bounced over a berm and swerved violently. Aaron grabbed at the seat edges as his body was tossed around like a rag doll.
They stopped so abruptly he was thrown forward. His helmet hit the windshield and stars burst behind his eyes.
His door opened and he was yanked out of the vehicle and thrown to the ground face-down. His arms were wrenched behind him and he felt the weight of a knee in his back.
He tried to focus through the daze. Cheryl and Scott! Were they hurt?
He was yanked to his feet, then shoved forward so violently he stumbled, his helmet askew and his equilibrium still off. His head felt like it weighed fifty pounds when he raised it—
Cheryl! And Scott! Both similarly trussed up, but both alive.
A brief spurt of relief shot through him, but it died with a fierce jab between his shoulder blades. This was bad.
Voices shouted in a language he couldn’t understand, but it was clear they wanted him to get in the bed of the pickup truck in front of them.
He dug in his heels. There was no way he was getting in that pickup. He would fight as long as he was able, and maybe help would arrive.
Movement to his right had him jerking his head that direction just in time to see Scott and Cheryl’s heads disappear under burlap sacks.
He saw the rifle butt in his peripheral vision a millisecond before his temple exploded, and everything went black.